Happy New Year!
There is much to look forward to in the region over the next few months. So take a journey with us forward in time to have a look at what's coming up. Here's our top tips:
The Pride - Manchester Opera House - 20 January
Given the great reviews this received at Trafalgar Studios, it's great that this production is coming to Manchester. Alexi Kaye Campbell's classic play is ripe for a revisit and with Matthew Horne, Harry Hadden-Paton, Al Weaver and Naomi Sheldon in the cast, it looks set to be a cracker.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Manchester Opera House - 12 Feb
ATG have this other coup coming to Manchester. This time - this city gets it first - prior to its West End opening. The film is a rollicking comedy and the show - directed by Jerry Mitchell - this has all the hallmarks of a big hit. Add Katherine Kingsley to the mix and you know this will be classy.
Orlando - Royal Exchange - 20 February
Suranne Jones, Virginia Woolf and gender identity. What's not to like in this Royal Exchange production which should have the usual finesse - you expect from this remarkable theatre in the round.
Twelfth Night - Everyman - 8 March
At last this much loved theatre is back in business. The Playhouse has kept going whilst the Everyman has gone through a massive refurbishment. They come back with a bang with this Bard classic. Matthew Kelly stars and it should give Liverpool audiences plenty to talk about - given their excellent Macbeth.
This Might Hurt a Bit - Bolton Octagon - 25 March
Out of Joint and the Octagon present this dark comedy about the NHS. Perfect timing - given the rumours of the changes afoot. It's also a return to what Out of Joint do best. If you saw David Hare's The Permanent Way, which looked at the state of the railways, that will give you a taste of how biting this could be.
Lord of the Flies - Lowry - 2 April
Matthew Bourne does it again. He very rarely fails to please dance fans and this looks like being a classic. The narrative lends itself way to his visionary style. With Swan Lake constantly being held up as his definitive piece, this one might put him back on the map for great new work.
Mamma Mia! - Blackpool Grand - 20 June
One of the biggest musicals of all time spends the Summer at Blackpool - a master stroke. This hits of Abba musical is a steam-roller of a show. Still playing in the West End, it should please audiences holidaying in beautiful Blackpool, locals and day- trippers. Don't let this one "slip through your fingers".